Wednesday, October 7, 2009
We are no longer egg-less around here. Our chickens can now be described as free-ranging, rather than free-loading. Er, at least one of them can.
We're just not sure which one.
Whatever, we're just thrilled to get an egg!
We had worried that it would be April before we saw an egg. Our chickens are now 6 months old, old enough to start laying, but it's October and getting darker and colder by the day. Who knew eggs were seasonal? But they are, and we've learned that chickens often don't lay eggs in the winter unless the coop is artificially lit to simulate summer daylight hours. Which we're not doing.
So we did not have high hopes for eggs this season, but last weekend, just to be sure, I put a blown-out egg into the coop, just in case, to nudge the hens into using the nest boxes for their intended purpose, which was not as a receptacle for chicken poop, just in case they were wondering.
This morning my kids mentioned that they thought Scrambles, our smartest and most precocious hen, was ready to lay. They said they felt an egg in her, whatever that means, and that she was acting weird, whatever that means. But we were late for the bus, and nobody bothered checking the coop.
This afternoon my son and I thought of it, and ran out to check. There, lying in one of the nest boxes, was a little, tiny, light-brown egg. It was like a miracle!
You...you...FEED the hens -- things like kitchen scraps and dry grains and worms and gravel and other things you have no use for -- and finally they produce this incredible little construction, this miracle of nature. That you can EAT. Or make omelettes or cake or souffle or pancakes or pasta or poached egg salads with. The incredible. Edible. Egg.
Now the only question -- other than life's vast and general mystery -- is -- whose egg is it? If it's Scrambles, why is it brown? She is an Easter Egger, which means she should be laying blue or green eggs. (Here she is eating a fig -- their favorite food -- while the other hens space out just inches away from her. It's always like that. ) She did everything earlier than they did, and is light years smarter than the others (climbs the ladder, recognizes the cats as a threat and chases them away, yearns for the other side of the fence...). So we just assumed she'd be the first to start laying.
And yet, the egg is brown. That means it was one of the Brahmas (the other four hens, the blonde bodalicious ones). Which is encouraging, as maybe the rest will start laying soon too.
Anyway, whatever! Who are we to question a miracle? Look how little and sweet!
It feels like magic.